Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) or new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy which was identified in 1996 by the National CJD Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh. Over 170 cases of vCJD have been recorded in the United Kingdom, and around 30 cases in the rest of the world. The fact that the epidemiology of the disease coincided with an epidemic of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy led to the hypothesis that consumption of BSE-infected beef caused the disease.
Despite the consumption of contaminated beef in the UK being reckoned to be quite high, vCJD has infected a comparatively small cohort of people. One explanation for this can be found in the genetics of patients with the disease. All tested vCJD patients have been shown to have two copies of an altered version of the prion protein gene.
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